Tatjana Greiner's WordShop



My name is Tatjana Greiner. I’m a professional writer, story teller and consultant, editor, and translator. Welcome to my website.

For information on my rates, please click on the individual tabs at the top.

Some background:

On a dark and stormy night….just kidding. I was born in Germany to a German mother and a father from Ukraine.

My mom’s mom was from Alsace-Lorraine, the little territory between Germany and France that kept changing between being French and German, depending on who had won the most recent war (and, over the years, there were many). She had a passion for music (she played the piano and the Schifferklavier, an accordion, and she played well).

My dad’s mom never lost her Russian accent. She also never lost her dislike for Germany. But she cooked dishes whose recipes we still pass around in the family today, and she sang beautiful, melancholy songs that stirred in her the memory of home, and in me a longing for far-away places.

My mom used to be a ballroom dancer. On the night she and her dance partner won the national championship (with the foxtrot), she wore a long dress with rhinestones and countless layers of tulle. On my wall, I have a framed photograph of her dancing that night. I’ve often wished I could have been there and watch her. Since I wasn’t, I can only imagine.

My dad took us traveling all over the world. I was two years old when I sat on my first international flight.┬áMany were to follow, and I learned early on that traveling is very much like reading a story – a gift that creates a lasting experience, as if the places, smells, colors, the sights, the sounds, and the people become a part of who you are.

When I was fourteen I declared I was going to move to Portugal, but didn’t. Eventually, I came to California and have stayed here ever since. The experience was so important, overwhelming and, in many ways, unexpected that I wrote a book about it, my first novel (Spring, Baby!), published by Rowohlt Verlag in Germany.

I have spent most of my adult life in the U.S. The English language has always been my passion. I consider myself bilingual as I have been working with both languages professionally on a daily basis for many years. Earning two creative writing degrees (B.A., summa cum laude, at SF State and a Master of Professional Writing at USC), I’ve studied with Hubert Selby Jr., Shelley Berman, Paul Zindel, James Ragan, Kenneth Turan, Tristine Rainer, David Scott Milton, and many others. Each left their mark. I assume most of us will never forget Shelley Berman’s class on Writing Humor and his teachings on “beats” to create rhythm in your writing. James Ragan’s message to “live poetry” and keep rediscovering your personal “historicity” remains both a reminder and a challenge to this day. The late Paul Zindel will forever be linked in my mind to “sub-plot, A, B, C, and sometimes even D,” and Kenneth Turan has stirred a lasting discourse on the different qualities and challenges of nonfiction versus fiction writing.

I spent seven unplanned for, yet instructive, years in Los Angeles. I was a long-term writer’s assistant to Emmy-award winner and best-selling author Gail Parent (The Golden Girls, The Main Event, Sheila Levine is Dead and Living in New York). I shot and produced two movies, directed one of them. The learning experience remains invaluable.

My one-act play Wallflowers, about an East German and a West German prostitute who have to share their turf after the wall comes down, was one of the winners of the Jerome Lawrence Playwriting Award. It was performed at the beautiful 24th Street Theatre in L.A. (and I’ll never forget that opening night) and at FirstStage Hollywood, a theater that was created twenty-some years ago by members of Robert Redford’s Sundance workshops. I directed many staged readings and several workshop productions at FirstStage, became a member of their Board of Directors, then, briefly, Vice President of the Board, and, after that, a member of the Artistic Committee, which I still am today.

Eight years ago I founded The WestSide Story Contest, open to literary fiction. Then I joined forces with the Berkeley Branch of the California Writers Club, which now administers the contest. Past judges include James Engelhart, Dennis Safren, and Michael Walsh, former music critic of Time Magazine and a winner at the 2004 American Book Awards. The original contest name reflected my old L.A. west side location, but since that is no longer valid we renamed it Write On! Story Contest. For more information, please visit: www.cwc.calwriters.org. A chapbook with the best seven stories from 2009 can be found at www.scribd.com.

Six years ago I founded a free playwriting contest for young Bay Area writers between the ages of 14 and 21 called Youth of the Bay. We’ve had two great professional stagings of the winning pieces at the annual San Francisco Theater Festival at Yerba Buena Gardens in downtown San Francisco.

From time to time I teach playwriting in juvenile halls. I’m one of the mentors of Each One Reach One, a Bay Area organization dedicated to mentoring imprisoned youth through theater arts. The program was a 2010 Coming Up Taller semifinalist selected by the President’s Committee of the Arts and the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The nomination is currently being reviewed by a national jury for a Coming Up Taller Award.

I have been a judge of the youth fiction writing contest of the Armenian Allied Arts Association, L.A and the NYC Midnight Short Story Contest.

Member of the Bay Area Editors’ Forum (BAEF), the Northern California Translators’ Association (NCTA), the American Literary Translators’ Association (ALTA), Bay Area Women in Film & Media, and Northern California Women in Localization (NCWL).

Recent years have brought about publications in the U.S. and many other interesting and satisfying projects. Please refer to the individual tabs for updates.

Thank you and be well,


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PS: Special thanks to Gunnar Helliesen for his support in helping me set up this website.

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